Essay Assignment

Essay Assignment:

Students are tasked with completing an essay assignment from a list of 3 potential topics.

– Topic #1: Culture – Over the past couple of months, people all over the world have had to undertake ‘social distancing’ which has seen contact even between close family members seriously curtailed, if not prohibited, outside of their homes. This has meant that many of the cultural rituals that have historically punctuated and gave meaning to our lives have had to be delayed, modified or cancelled altogether. This has included birthdays, graduations, weddings and funerals in addition to various religious celebrations that happen daily, weekly, annually or otherwise. How have you had to modify, delay or cancel cultural activities over this time and what, if anything, have you learned about the meaning/significance of these events as a result? How might have ‘social distancing’ practices affected other groups or cultures differently from what you have experienced? To what extent do you feel virtual participation can replace physical presence at cultural events?

Topic #2: political Economy – The Covid-19 pandemic has forced governments around the world, including Canada’s, to make interventions into their economies in ways which may have never seemed possible just a few months ago. This has included paying most of the wages of workers in private enterprises, curtailing the legal rights of landlords to evict or punish their renters, and closing large parts of their economies altogether. This has happened in countries who perceive themselves to be in favour of a limited role of government, such as the United States, and others which are officially socialist, such as China. What have these actions taught you about the differences in the political and economic ideologies of countries? Have your opinions on what the role of the ‘state’ should be in the economies of countries?

Topic #3: Trade – The Covid-19 pandemic has illustrated how interconnected the world is with respect to the trade in goods and the flow of people. While countries, such as Canada, have closed their borders to all but essential travel by people, they have remained open to trade. While people have been required to ‘stay home’ and even ‘shelter in place’, Amazon has had to hire 100,000 workers to keep the flow of goods moving internationally. How has international trade assisted in the international response to the pandemic? Has this strengthened the arguments in favour of international trade? What, if any, weaknesses in the global trading system has the pandemic identified?

Marks for the essay assignment are awarded as followed:

  • Use of Course Materials and Additional Research – 5 marks
    • Students are required to support their arguments by referencing materials from both within and outside of the course 

3500-3600 words (7 pages long single spaced with 1” margins and 12 point font) Students are expected to conduct a significant amount of research Perhaps 10 or more newspaper stories, or 5 or more academic papers/government reports

  • References should be almost entirely to high quality sources, such as news organizations (newspapers, network television organizations etc.), government and/or academic research papers or reports (available through the resources of the Telfer and central university library) or other sources where liability can be determined (on-line sources where authorship is unable to be determined and/or held accountable are not considered reliable…but are often highly entertaining)
  • Marks are associated both to the quantity and quality of references used as well as the ways in which the materials are used (i.e. use of quotations or other data to support arguments)
  • All external materials must be clearly referenced. Failure do so could result in a charge of academic fraud (see materials included below on this topic)
  • Arguments and Content of the Essay – 20 marks
    • Grades for this section will be assigned based-on the extent to which the student has answered the following questions:
      • Does the essay present a clear and fully articulated position on the topic?
      • Are the arguments grounded or supported by factual and/or logical arguments?
      • Have alternative perspectives or opinions been identified and thoroughly discussed?
      • Have all dimensions of the issue been identified and carefully considered?
  • Presentation – 5 marks
    • Assignments must be free of spelling and grammatical errors
    • Assignments should be professionally presented, ensuring that any tables or graphics are cleanly presented and easy to read (this may require reproducing figures, as opposed to cutting and pasting from source documents)
    • Do the arguments presented flow together and build upon each other?

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